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[ANSWERED] Interior Design and Fabrication Standards

Old 05-15-2018, 02:30 PM
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jvp
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Default [ANSWERED] Interior Design and Fabrication Standards

The original question is here.

skank asked:
I'm very interested in the design, fabrication, and quality standards of the interior in the Corvette Line-up. Could you explain the process of utilizing companies such as Draxlmaier, Lear, JMP, Megatech, Magna, and Faurecia as partners in the fabrication of the Corvette interiors including instrument panels, switchgear, door panels, etc. I have debated with other sports car owners(Porsche) that the methodology of fabricating components with accurate tolerances by any of the above companies do not deviate whether manufacturing for Corvette or Porsche or any other high end manufacturer for that matter. The only difference is the material specifications relative to budget. It would be great to hear your perspective on the design and quality standards relative to your competitors.
Tadge answered:
The development of cars is a very complex process. Interiors are no exception. It is simultaneously creative and technical and requires great partnerships with supplier companies like the ones you named. Generally speaking, there is a lot of overlap between OEMs and the interior suppliers they use. To describe the process in over-simplified terms: As designers create a "vision" for how a car's interior could look, engineers canvas suppliers for new technology that could delight customers. The interior is a highly constrained environment with many safety, packaging, functionality and legal requirements. The interior also has to maintain perfect harmony with the exterior of the car as I evolves (can't build a car with little windows on the outside but big windows on the inside). Suppliers are engaged as the design evolves to help us work on materials, manufacturability and panel break up. We work intensely on surface feel and appearance and dimensional quality. Remember most cars do not have one interior, they have hundreds depending on color, premium materials (like suede, leather, wood, carbon and metallic accents), and optional content. You mention switchgear which is a huge part of the interior. Those are really electrical components and they are typically supplied by a different group of companies but have to be seamlessly integrated into the rest of the trim.

I don't have specific knowledge about the dimensional tolerance differences demanded by various manufacturers. My opinion is that the interior suppliers do their best for every customer resulting in a kind of "industry standard" of quality at least in dimensional terms. As you say, the actual materials used is a function of the program's budget. In roughly ascending order of cost, interior constructions on mainstream cars start with molded plastic, then painted plastic, then wrapped components. These can be wrapped in vinyl, leather or suede and additional cost is based on sandwiching foam materials under the wrap to give parts a soft feel. Wood (not on Corvette) and metal (typically aluminum or stainless steel) are added as accent pieces. At the top of the price scale is real carbon fiber (there are a lot of carbon-looking applied finishes) which you only see on the most premium vehicles.

Last edited by jvp; 05-15-2018 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:38 PM
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Thanks Tadge for the excellent explanation of this.
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